BERLIN – World-class bands and entertainment, classic midway attractions, contests, live animals, homemade food and, above all, “community unity” will be in full swing this weekend for the 68th annual Berlin Fair, says Lenny Tubbs, this year’s fair president.
“Our fair is a true community fair,” says Tubbs, who also serves as the first vice-president of the Berlin Lions Club, which sponsors the fair. “People say this is their favorite fair, and I really, truly believe them. There’s something for everyone.”
From tractor pulls and frog jump contests to pig races and rock n’ roll, there’s no shortage of entertainment on tap for the fair, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Berlin Lions Fairgrounds on Beckley Road.
The Berlin Fair is such an anticipated community event that the school district cancels school each year on the first day of the fair so local children and teens can attend.
This year, fair preparations began in April, says Tubbs, with Lions Club members painting, cleaning and generally preparing the 35-acre site. He says a number of attractions and performers are new to the fair this year, including Jason Tardy, who has performed his high-energy juggling act – which includes fire-eating, comedy and contortion – at the White House on three occasions. Also new will be the Painted Pony Rodeo, which will feature professional cowboys performing stunts like bull riding and barrel racing, and the Wild World of Animals show, which will bring an American alligator, snapping turtle, albino monocle cobra, African spotted leopard or hyena, and other animals and birds to the fair.
Along with canned pickles, relishes, vegetables, fruit, sauces, jellies and jams, homemade wine and home-brewed beer in categories including ales, pilsners, IPA’s, stouts and porters have been added to this year’s canning contest, Tubbs says.
“There are more and more people brewing their own,” he said.
For musical entertainment, both local and national acts will take the stage throughout the fair’s three days, including Kick It Out, a Philadelphia-based Heart tribute band; 1974 Band, a progressive rock quintet from Newington; Presley and Taylor, two country-music-singing sisters from Middlefield; and several others.
Adult and youth crafts, livestock exhibitions and a scarecrow contest will be on display, along with state baking, photo and quilt contests for recognition and prizes.
“A lot of fairs only display the few winners. We display everything,” said Tubbs. “If it comes in, we find a place to display it.”
And then of course, there’s the food.
Homemade clam chowder, deep-fried Oreos and chocolate-covered bacon, lobster rolls, butterfly potatoes, apple fritters, steamed cheeseburgers, and the famous “big donut” are only a sampling of the food at that will be available at the fair.
Nearly all the food booths will be operated by various nonprofit and civic organizations in the area, including Kensington Congregational Church, Berlin Volunteer Fire Department, Kiwanis, Berlin Lions, Boy Scouts, and the American Legion.
The fair is first and foremost a fundraiser for the Berlin Lions Charities and other organizations in the area, says Tubbs.
“Our fair gives our nonprofits and our civic groups a place to have a fundraiser and help support their programs throughout the year,” said Tubbs. The Berlin Lions Charities also uses funds raised at the fair to support a number of organizations, including the American School for the Deaf, Berlin Relay for Life, and a number of student scholarships.
“The Berlin Lions put it together, but it’s with everybody that it becomes the Berlin Fair,” he added. “Without our local civic groups, it just wouldn’t be the same.”
For more information on the 68th annual Berlin Fair, visit ctberlinfair.com.
Kristina Tedeschi Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-801-5069.